Universal Pictures | Release Date: June 30, 1989
8.4
USER SCORE
Universal acclaim based on 138 Ratings
USER RATING DISTRIBUTION
Positive:
122
Mixed:
7
Negative:
9
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10
KatieK.Apr 8, 2002
There are no words to desribe it but FANTASTIC.
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10
MarkW.Apr 8, 2003
Spike's only great movie! One of the best movies of the last two decades.
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10
KellyJ.Mar 2, 2007
This movie is a fantastic look at what race relations are like in areas where there is diversity and heavy interaction. It's real and it's right on the mark.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
MarquezW.Mar 2, 2007
I loved this film and felt that it was right up there with Malcolm X and the 25th Hour as one of his best films to date, if not the best.
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10
PhilipS.Apr 10, 2002
Without a doubt, found ion the layers of this film is the psyche of American race relations. Allusions and metaphors abound...ensuring you hear the right thing.
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10
BlackDeuceCoupeApr 19, 2002
A timeless classic, beautifully shot, rich in symbolism. I've watched it 1000 times and I'll watch it 1000 more. A valuable addition to your collection.
1 of 1 users found this helpful
10
MorgannaApr 4, 2002
The main criticism of this film seems that there are no easy answers presented. Well, if there were any, our race relation problems would have been solved long ago. A one-of-a-kind film, not without a sense of humor made to make us think.
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10
DavidL.May 29, 2004
Freaking amazing. it approached racial issues head on and unafraid. love it.
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10
KeilS.Dec 7, 2005
Several missteps aside, Spike Lee has been one of our most challenging filmmakers since his debut feature, She's Gotta Have It. After that and the hit-and-miss School Daze, he stunned even his most adamant naysayers with Do the Right Several missteps aside, Spike Lee has been one of our most challenging filmmakers since his debut feature, She's Gotta Have It. After that and the hit-and-miss School Daze, he stunned even his most adamant naysayers with Do the Right Thing. This remarkable, staggering achievement has not yet received even half the respect and recognition that it deserves. Despite viewers' polarized reactions to the film's controversial climax, one would be remiss to dismiss this picture as anything but brilliant. Revolutionary in its scope, yet delightfully small in scale, DTRT takes audiences through one day in the life of the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. Using this intersection as a microcosm for racial relations in modern America, Lee expertly addresses the multitude of idiosyncrasies and contradictions that both strengthen and weaken our national culture simultaneously. Don't let the profanity and blaring rap music scare you. This is a must-see picture, and a damn funny comedy to boot. An American Classic! Expand
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10
BriyannaM.Oct 10, 2006
This movie was great and it talks a lot about racial profiling.
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10
DianrMay 12, 2006
One of Spike Lees's excellent movies. The cast is outstanding and the story line is great. This film is a favorite of mines.
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10
AlexQ.Mar 2, 2007
This invigorating and thought provoking tale beautifully discusses an issue that has plauged America since its creation, race. Overall, this remains as Spike Lee's best film to date, along with When the Levees Broke, a touching This invigorating and thought provoking tale beautifully discusses an issue that has plauged America since its creation, race. Overall, this remains as Spike Lee's best film to date, along with When the Levees Broke, a touching documentary that bleeds of realism about how the survivors dealt with Hurricane Katrina, and Malcolm X, a fascinating biopic. John Turturro (who would later co-star in another good movie He Got Game) and Danny Aiello were convincingly brilliant in their roles, and Radio Rahim was another good character central to the theme of the movie. Also loved their soundtrack, headlined by Public Enemy, who is one of the best hip-hop groups of all-time. Overall a gripping story that deals with race relations in the heart of the city. Collapse
1 of 1 users found this helpful
10
KurtG.Jan 15, 2004
This is an amazing movie.
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10
DanC.Jan 24, 2004
A great movie which presents many thought provoking questions.
0 of 1 users found this helpful
10
renot.Sep 28, 2005
One of the best.
0 of 1 users found this helpful
10
ohsnapkidNov 7, 2010
A masterpiece depicting the ambiguities of social and racial inequality, but filmed beautifully and realistically. Its message resonates very strongly even 20 years after the film's release - a testament to how incisive the issues expertlyA masterpiece depicting the ambiguities of social and racial inequality, but filmed beautifully and realistically. Its message resonates very strongly even 20 years after the film's release - a testament to how incisive the issues expertly relayed by Lee remain. Do The Right Thing is a fundamentally abrasive film, and thus it would be unreasonable to expect that everyone who watches it appreciates the purpose, but overall that is a key reason why it is so good. A true classic. Expand
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10
cameronmorewoodNov 17, 2012
One of the most poignant and pivotal American films I've ever seen.
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10
StevePulaskiJan 25, 2013
Racial relations in films leave much room for sugarcoating and biased views of one or more people on the cast and crew, but thankfully, Spike Lee is too smart to take sides or choose whose battle to support. In Do the Right Thing, he showsRacial relations in films leave much room for sugarcoating and biased views of one or more people on the cast and crew, but thankfully, Spike Lee is too smart to take sides or choose whose battle to support. In Do the Right Thing, he shows how racial relations have hurt one specific street block in Brooklyn. The result soars past any expectations one has going into it.

The film plays like an anthology, featuring people that resemble real people, and who pack in realistic flaws. It takes place on a brutally hot day in the neighborhood, with the temperature in the late nineties to early hundreds. The film's center is a pizzeria on the street, called Sal's Famous, which is run by an Italian father and his two sons. The father is Sal Frangione (Aiello) who has been on the block for over twenty years, and his sons Pino (Turturro) who refers to coming to work like "Planet of the Apes," and Vito (Edson) who is accepting of the blacks.

They're the only white people we see throughout the whole film and yet, despite some of their comments, we can sympathize with them in a way. All they want to do is run a business, but odd complications plague their day. The only black character employed at the pizzeria is slacker Mookie (played by Spike Lee himself). Mookie is a gentle and sweet kid, but seems to develop a distracting fondness for anything but his work.

Other people around down are simple, frequently drunk "Da Mayor" (Davis), Mother Sister (Dee), who observes the neighborhood through her window, Radio Raheem (Nunn), who blasts his music at deafening level on his boombox, which annoys many, Buggin' Out (Esposito), a geeky man who wants to see some black people on the wall of Sal's Famous, and Sonny (Park), a Korean grocery store owner across the street from Sal.

Not a lot of films can perfect the idea of "all characters, no plot," but Do the Right Thing is effortlessly convincing. The film also excels in being extremely original and stylistic in the sense that the heat from the day itself seems to be creeping out on screen. All the characters are soaked in sweat and the cinematography is so bright and loaded with primary colors that it comes off as infectious and unique. Even the air looks to be seamy and murky. Every detail is included, and nothing is overlooked.

Finally, there's the climax, one of the best, and most involved I have yet to see. It's unexpected, well-choreographed, and never misses a beat. It doesn't seem cartoony, as much as it seems realistic and well done. I wish I could go into greater detail, but it needs to be seen to be believed. Also, one of the characters does an act you wouldn't think that insights one of the major plot points. I think it's safe to say, he didn't do the right thing.

Do the Right Thing isn't only provocative, but it avoids cliches and doesn't give us the same "racism is bad" lecture. It's too original and intelligent for that. Lee has introduced us to likable characters that we continue to adore as the film goes on, and despite the heavy climax, we still at least respect. You're left contemplating what the right thing is/was and how would you go about doing it.

Starring: Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Spike Lee, Giancarlo Esposito, John Turturro, Ruby Dee, Steve Park, Bill Nunn, Richard Edson, Rosie Perez, Martin Lawrence, and Samuel L. Jackson. Directed by: Spike Lee.
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10
GregePorterAug 31, 2015
Bottom line: With Do the Right Thing, Spike Lee is able to start a conversation about race in America, pointedly and brilliantly.

In Do the Right Thing, we watch an urban New York neighborhood during a heat-wave. Racial tensions smolder
Bottom line: With Do the Right Thing, Spike Lee is able to start a conversation about race in America, pointedly and brilliantly.

In Do the Right Thing, we watch an urban New York neighborhood during a heat-wave. Racial tensions smolder before erupting into violence. It is one of those movies that’s difficult to summarize; there are numerous characters whose plot lines intertwine but the core of the movie looks at the larger issue of racism. We have the Italian American, Sal (Aiello), who has owned the neighborhood pizza shop for twenty-five years. On one wall, he has a “Wall of Fame” which features photos of Italian-Americans. He refuses to put up any African or African-American photos. His son is a racist. We have the patron, a militant black power character, who vows to boycott Sal’s until there are Africans represented on the wall. Meanwhile, we have the brutal, white police officers. We have the Chinese owners of a local grocery store. We have the Hispanic community. We have Radio Raheem (Nunn) who blares Public Enemy on his boombox.

Spike Lee is able to present the complexity of this issue, and this film-world, with coherence and harmony. This is what makes Do the Right Thing so good. The important part about this movie is that there is no one completely at fault. It may not sound like much, I mean, we have antiheroes all the time, right? Here though, the purpose is to spark a dialog about race in America. The movie closes with two quotes. The first is a warning from Martin Luther King Jr. about the dangers of violence. I thought, “Alright, I get it. All of the destruction in the movie could’ve been avoided by choosing peace.” Then comes a statement by Malcom X saying that while he doesn’t condone violence, violence might be necessary in self-defense and he does condone self-defense. Even in conclusion this movie presents more than one perspective.

In Do the Right Thing, the message is as ambiguous as the film’s title. What is the “right thing?” Of course, we all want to do that but how do we know what it is? Even if we do know the right thing, it’s a lot easier said than done.

Aside from a story perspective, Spike Lee fully uses the medium of film. It is a very hot summer day so he shows three old men sitting in lawn chairs partially covered by an umbrella. They sit in front of a fire-engine red brick wall. The color in and of itself makes the audience feel the warmth of that summer day. It reminded me of a Rothko painting.
In other situations, Lee uses a wide-angle lens pushed close up to the actors who speak directly into the camera. It is an uncomfortable angle to watch and listen to someone scream at you. That’s the point. Our proximity to the characters removes any chance we have of escaping the situation. It’s as if the film is telling us that we have to address these issues.

I just finished listening to an audio version of Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art. It is about tackling the resistance that is preventing you from doing what you truly dream. At one point, he explains that in writing this book, his own demons of resistance fought him. He said to himself, “I am a fiction writer. Shouldn’t I, instead of writing a nonfiction book like this, cloak the same message in metaphor? I could write a story about a soldier’s trials and tribulations as he undertakes a mission.” Do the Right Thing is like The War of Art in the sense that it is not a message hidden in a film, it a direct message in and of itself. Spike Lee uses jump cuts help develop this idea.

A jump cut is where the camera moves slightly between two shots. It moves in such a way that you can tell there was a cut. I have a bunch of jump cuts in my review videos, if you want to see an example. Up until around the 1960’s, cut jumps were considered more a mistake than anything. They are jarring and make you aware of the camera so it breaks some level of immersion. So, by using a couple jump cuts, Lee is able to address the audience and the audience’s interaction with the film. That is, we aren’t going to get too caught up in the plot that we lose sight of the fact that this is a movie with a message. Do the Right Thing is a cinematic representation of a speech or an editorial; it not only tells you but it shows you.

I’ve mentioned this before, I’m sure, but I’ll say it again. A good movie might tell you, a bad movie will probably tell you again, but a great movie will show you. Do the Right Thing is a great movie that I highly recommend. I’m only sorry it’s taken me so long to see it.
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10
CalibMcBoltsMay 30, 2016
When i watched this movie i saw what a stylistic achievement it is. Spike Lee was 32 when he made it, assured, confident, in the full joy of his power. He takes this story, which sounds like grim social realism, and tells it with music,When i watched this movie i saw what a stylistic achievement it is. Spike Lee was 32 when he made it, assured, confident, in the full joy of his power. He takes this story, which sounds like grim social realism, and tells it with music, humor, color and exuberant invention. A lot of it is just plain fun.

Do The Right Thing is an extremely powerful, important and also fun movie that needs to be seen.
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9
J.RyanG.May 23, 2005
This is not only a good film, it's a great sparring partner. And on more than one occasion, it has knocked me out. This is a wondeful example of a film that gets a soulful message across without preaching. Lacking the speeches of John This is not only a good film, it's a great sparring partner. And on more than one occasion, it has knocked me out. This is a wondeful example of a film that gets a soulful message across without preaching. Lacking the speeches of John Singleton's phony "Boyz N the Hood," Spike Lee's film does the really hard work of making the behavior of the characters tell us what we need to be thinking about. Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful
9
KellyJ.Jan 5, 2002
This movie is a fantastic look at what race relations are like in areas where there is diversity and heavy interaction. It's real and it's right on the mark.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
9
AdamS.Jun 2, 2002
This invigorating and thought provoking tale beautifully discusses an issue that has plauged America since its creation, race. The only disapointment is while it brings up a complex issue, it in the end, fails to suggest any answers.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
9
Less_SuccessAug 2, 2006
This is great movie simply because everything is so grey. It will have you considering who is right or wrong for days after you see it for the first time. It really forces you to examine a difficult situation and decide for yourself who you This is great movie simply because everything is so grey. It will have you considering who is right or wrong for days after you see it for the first time. It really forces you to examine a difficult situation and decide for yourself who you think made the right decisions. Expand
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9
MartyT.Dec 9, 2004
This movie was great, it faced the real facts about racism and was still funny at the same time, i enjoyed this movie a lot.
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9
ScottM.May 15, 2005
Will be talked over and debated over for years, which is the highest compliment i can give it. but the end sucked.
1 of 2 users found this helpful
9
DA.Mar 28, 2007
One of the most brilliantly made movies of our time. Balances the fine line between entertainment and art masterfully. THE definitive movie about race relations. This movie must be watched by all, as it is still relevant in the world today. One of the most brilliantly made movies of our time. Balances the fine line between entertainment and art masterfully. THE definitive movie about race relations. This movie must be watched by all, as it is still relevant in the world today. And to viewers like Kaity M., go watch any of the crap Hollywood spews out on a regular basis. Im guessing this movie went straight over your head. It's not supposed to be an inspirational movie that makes you want to do something about racial activism. It's supposed to be about portraying race relations between those that wish to not understand each other, and act on stereotypical views that one holds in deep within themselves. Expand
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9
wololoooJul 5, 2012
In Do the Right Thing, Spike Lee has painted an astonishingly honest and human depiction of racial prejudice and ignorance. Lee presents us with a multitude of complex characters from a wide spectrum of racial and cultural backgrounds andIn Do the Right Thing, Spike Lee has painted an astonishingly honest and human depiction of racial prejudice and ignorance. Lee presents us with a multitude of complex characters from a wide spectrum of racial and cultural backgrounds and portrays their involvement and experiences with race issues on an very personal level.
The ending in particular was extremely though provoking - we're given no answers to the issues dealt with in the film, and this is in no way a mistake on the director's part, but a deliberate calculation that heightens the effectiveness of the film. The cast is brilliant, especially John Turturro, Giancalro Esposito and Lee himself. Do The Right Thing is a timeless masterpiece with timeless messages and a provocative insight into race relations.
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9
evilgamer3560Aug 11, 2015
This documentary shows dindu nuffins in their natural habitat. It also proposes that fighting is bad like you'd say to a group of 5 years old, but I guess dindus do count as 5 years old chimps
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9
Skullgirlsfan13Jun 9, 2013
I always have had an issue with movies having stereotypes in them; Transformers 2 and anything with "movie" in it, and for some strange reason that made me want to watch this. It's kind of random, but I don't regret it. Do the right thing isI always have had an issue with movies having stereotypes in them; Transformers 2 and anything with "movie" in it, and for some strange reason that made me want to watch this. It's kind of random, but I don't regret it. Do the right thing is by far one of the greatest examples of racial tension ever; also I can't think of any other films that deal with it as well, and is also enjoyable to watch. I mean usually you have stories about racism and it's always preachy, but here it has an interesting story with interesting people. Of course like any good argument it addresses all points, like: the point of view from the victim, from the bigot, from other people of different races, and from everyday people. It shows that there's a limbo between the battle of good and evil. Speaking of that, radio guy; sorry I don't know his full name, is my favorite character. The fact that he has the reminiscence of Harry Powell from night of the hunter, but in a modern and positive look on it. Overall this is a great movie, and honestly there's nothing wrong with it; that I can see that is, so Definitely check it out when able to. Expand
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9
EpicLadySpongeMay 3, 2016
Do the Right Thing is [pun included] doing the right thing! Nothing can prepare its laughter when watching this classical movie and nothing can compare how funny it is to other movies.
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7
MichaelF.Nov 19, 2001
I guess I didn't get it. I liked the film but how it displayed rascism was TOO clear. With its bizzare opening and weird feel, this flick didn't do it for me. I really like Spike Lee, I PRAISE "Clockers" and "Malcolm X" but I I guess I didn't get it. I liked the film but how it displayed rascism was TOO clear. With its bizzare opening and weird feel, this flick didn't do it for me. I really like Spike Lee, I PRAISE "Clockers" and "Malcolm X" but I don't know. Expand
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7
Tss5078Feb 23, 2013
I didn't understand the first hour and a half of Do The Right Thing, but things get serious and cleared up in a heartbeat. This controversial film is about no matter how well we know each other, there is still racial tension living rightI didn't understand the first hour and a half of Do The Right Thing, but things get serious and cleared up in a heartbeat. This controversial film is about no matter how well we know each other, there is still racial tension living right under the surface. All it takes is some pointless argument about a picture on the wall or a radio being played too loudly, for racism to rear it's ugly head on both sides. Then what happens? People are dead, businesses are ruined, and communities are rioting. Over what? The argument is but a mere spark, racism is the issue. Had the argument been between two black men, instead of a white man and a black man, things would have turned out much differently. That's the point of this film, very wisely and overlooked, Spike Lee is saying who cares what color the person is, step up and do the right thing in every situation. It's a message we should all take to heart. Expand
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7
Compi24Oct 14, 2015
"Do The Right Thing" is a refreshingly objective look at ignorance and intolerance on all sides of multi-cultural America, featuring great directorial work from Spike Lee and devoted performances from the likes of Danny Aiello, John Turturro,"Do The Right Thing" is a refreshingly objective look at ignorance and intolerance on all sides of multi-cultural America, featuring great directorial work from Spike Lee and devoted performances from the likes of Danny Aiello, John Turturro, Giancarlo Esposito, Bill Nunn, and even Lee himself. Expand
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7
JvrJan 1, 2014
Great movie!!! But, wtf is up with the Sal part? So he blames him for radio? This was terrible in the end. Still good movie, I give it a 7. This was a great movie but it seems like African America must get even in order for things to beGreat movie!!! But, wtf is up with the Sal part? So he blames him for radio? This was terrible in the end. Still good movie, I give it a 7. This was a great movie but it seems like African America must get even in order for things to be right. Well, this was in the past so I might no understand but I'm glad things have changed. Expand
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6
PatC.Jan 13, 2004
Avoided the news flashes and worked behind the scene to show the different ways the characters cope in the urban environment. It's a fish swimming around very much at home in its pond, until the end when it jumps out and flops around a bit.
0 of 1 users found this helpful
3
DonP.Apr 10, 2002
A shallow movie about shallow people. This movie tries to be poignant but completely fails because the characters are so one dimensional.
0 of 4 users found this helpful
3
KaityM.Feb 19, 2006
Cinematogrpahy =good Acting= good/ok Story= ok/not very interesting technical= ok symbolism= overwhelming/confussin location= meh any other aspect i forgot= meh didn't catch my eye = in total i am a 16 year old girl and i would say i am Cinematogrpahy =good Acting= good/ok Story= ok/not very interesting technical= ok symbolism= overwhelming/confussin location= meh any other aspect i forgot= meh didn't catch my eye = in total i am a 16 year old girl and i would say i am a beginer "big film buff" and after a while it just lost me.....i got bored...kept wondering what time it was.....their is so many aspects he could have done to made it appealing to all audiences not saying i want big car explosions and multi-million dollar actors acting.....it's just i wasn't born in the time of Martin Luther King jr's activitism why not make so that future audiences can go "wow he is so right let's go do somehting about it" although it's not as much a problem as it used to be....but you know what i mean!!! i say we give spike a round of appaulse for trying!!! Expand
0 of 7 users found this helpful
3
YoonChoSep 13, 2003
Overrated largely by guilt-ridden white liberal critics, Do the Right Thing is really just a funkier movie of the sort Stanley Kramer used to crank out: the issue movie. The movie pretends at objectivity, balance, airing all sides but as the Overrated largely by guilt-ridden white liberal critics, Do the Right Thing is really just a funkier movie of the sort Stanley Kramer used to crank out: the issue movie. The movie pretends at objectivity, balance, airing all sides but as the cleverly calculated ending shows, Lee is an inflammatory and cliched black power demogogue. Of course he wants to have the cake and eat it too, be praised for both fairmindedness and devotion to 'black liberation'. A tiresome tract, which for all its bombastic Public Enemy soundtrack, plays coy and sneaky with the audience. Expand
0 of 3 users found this helpful
2
RickNov 4, 2004
I hated this movie. Crazy.
0 of 4 users found this helpful
2
SpangleDec 6, 2013
Horrible movie. Sure, it raises a good point about how race relations turns into tragedy, but at the end, it just makes you hate everyone in the movie and wish for it to end. Ultimately, the only tragedy is how bad the movie wound up being.Horrible movie. Sure, it raises a good point about how race relations turns into tragedy, but at the end, it just makes you hate everyone in the movie and wish for it to end. Ultimately, the only tragedy is how bad the movie wound up being. In addition, even before the "tragic" ending, it was beyond boring and I almost shut it off, but wanted to see how it would end. Boy was I disappointed. Expand
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1
RickyC.Jan 9, 2004
I hated this highly overrated movie.
0 of 4 users found this helpful
1
EltonT.Sep 23, 2007
I was forced to watch this movie for a school assignment. I was excited to see it because of the reviews that it had. To say the least I was totally disappointed. I thought it was poorly written and directed. Worse yet the theme of the movie I was forced to watch this movie for a school assignment. I was excited to see it because of the reviews that it had. To say the least I was totally disappointed. I thought it was poorly written and directed. Worse yet the theme of the movie only encourages the rift between races. Expand
1 of 4 users found this helpful